The Rockfall Foundation Announces Recipients of 2019 Environmental Grants

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Over $30,000 being granted to ten local organizations

MIDDLETOWN, CT -- Continuing its philanthropic tradition, The Rockfall Foundation has awarded $33,750 in grant money to ten non-profit organizations, municipalities, and schools in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. The annual Environmental Grants Program aims to preserve and enhance the environment in the Lower Connecticut River Valley and to increase public knowledge of and respect for its natural resources. The 2019 grant recipients include five educational programs targeted at children and adults, three organic community gardens, and projects for amphibian conservation and greenscaping. These projects provide services in Middlefield, Durham, Chester, Deep River, Middletown, Westbrook, and across the Connecticut River watershed. Cumulatively, The Rockfall Foundation has awarded over a half million dollars since the inception of its grant program.

Recipients for 2019 are as follows:

Coginchaug Area Transition (CAT) Giving Garden working group - “Giving Garden of Durham-Middlefield” will create a new Giving Garden at the Community Center, in partnership with the Town of Middlefield, that will provide fresh, free organic produce to residents whose access to healthy nutrition options are limited. The garden will follow organic protocols, working in partnership with nature. Community building will be encouraged through recruitment of volunteers and hiring an educator/outreach coordinator. Grant amount: $1,175.

Connecticut Audubon Society “Science in Nature Education Program for Chester and Deep River Elementary Schools” will deliver their award-winning Science in Nature Education Program to 16 classes at Deep River Elementary and Chester Elementary schools. The field-based program will focus on Weather & Climate, Geology, and Adaptations, and links hands-on learning to classroom science lessons. Students will use tools such as mobile, on-site laboratories, temperature sensors, soil moisture sensors, soil corers, soil sieves, anemometers, and compasses among others. Grant amount: $4,450.

Connecticut Forest and Park Association - ”Highlawn Forest Vernal Pool Education Boardwalk” project will build a new boardwalk and educational signage to provide safe access to the large vernal pool located on the Highlawn Forest’s Discovery Trail at CFPA’s headquarters in Middlefield. The boardwalk, to be built by CFPA interns, is used for educational programs and hundreds of users of the Highlawn Forest Trails, and will serve to minimize damage to the ecosystem, as well as a learning opportunity for the interns. Grant amount: $5,000.

Indian Hill Cemetery - ”A Celebration of the Trees of Indian Hill Cemetery” will offer two public, guided walks, and a field trip for a Middletown school, to enable children and adults to learn about the beautiful trees at Indian Hill Cemetery, the geology of the tombstones, and local history, all while enjoying outside time in a beautiful, park-like cemetery. Indian Hill has one of the largest collections of interesting and large, old trees in the area, and this project will plant an additional four to six species to be used for learning purposes. Grant amount: $910.

Macdonough School - “Macdonough Gets Into Nature” will help Middletown elementary school students learn about and be better connected with the natural world through a field trip for each grade. Led by Everyone Outside, the field trips will provide hands-on science education and understanding of their local ecosystem. Macdonough teachers will receive books and equipment so they can offer more lessons about nature that incorporate the new Next Generation Science Standards as well as the Common Core State Standards. Grant amount: $1,650.

Middlesex Community College Foundation - “Organic Garden Student Internship” will establish a new intern-led MxCC Veteran’s Memorial Organic Garden on campus to distribute organic produce to Middletown Middle School’s Summer Program and to MxCC students on the Magic Food Bus. The Magic Food Bus seeks to alleviate the challenges of food insecurity faced by college students and their families, providing non-perishable food items, toiletries, and under this project fresh, organic produce. Grant amount: $4,350.

Mystic Aquarium - “Amphibian Conservation through Community Stewardship” will expand upon the citizen science Amphibian Monitoring Program. Community volunteers will assist in collecting data on the presence of chytrid in amphibian species in the CT River watershed. Amphibian surveys will be conducted in a variety of wetland habitats throughout Middlesex County to further conservation of amphibian species in the region and support public education on the decline of amphibian species. Grant amount: $5,000.

The North End Action Team - “Ferry Street Community Garden Initiative” will create a community garden organizer position for the Ferry Street Community Garden to provide the children and families in the north end of Middletown a community hub for experiencing and learning about organic gardening. Through volunteering and structured weekly gardening programs, students will be educated on all stages of growing and harvesting. In addition, participating children and families will receive vegetable shares from the garden and supporting farms. Grant amount: $5,250.

Town of Westbrook - “Sustainable Practices Education and Demonstration in a Parking Lot Project” will educate the public on demonstrated sustainable design and care practices in a parking lot via new interactive signage placards and plant labels. The half-acre, 20 space parking lot is surrounded by an urban meadow with an adjacent stream at the corner of the Boston Post Road and Route 153 in Westbrook. The placards and plant labels will highlight native plants that require minimal care, protective trees, pervious asphalt, low energy lights, and solar powered trash and recycling receptacles that call for pick-up when full, reducing unnecessary trash pick-ups. Grant amount: $3,465.

Valley Shore YMCA - “Farm to Table Camp” will offer a week-long gardening camp in August that serves to educate children on the importance of growing a garden, harvesting produce for themselves and others, and upholding the responsibility to be good stewards of the earth. Students learn hands-on via two “teaching beds” in the YMCA Community Garden, a chicken coop, a farm field trip, a food preservation lesson, and a celebratory meal prepared with produce harvested from the garden. Grant amount: $2,500.

Founded in 1935 by Middletown philanthropist Clarence S. Wadsworth, The Rockfall Foundation is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations. The Foundation supports environmental education, conservation and planning initiatives in the Lower Connecticut River Valley through public programs and grants.  In addition, The Rockfall Foundation operates the historic deKoven House Community Center, which offers meeting rooms and office space for non-profit organizations.

For additional information about The Rockfall Foundation and the Environmental Grants Program, or to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit or call 860-347-0340.



Amanda Kenyon
Grants and Communications Coordinator
The Rockfall Foundation


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